I always consider the weeks from mid-April to the first of June to be my Season One each year. It's the first big block of racing. This year it kicked off a little earlier with my first trip to Battenkill. That was one of the most enjoyable races I've participated in so the next few weeks of familiar races maybe seemed a little too familiar. Still good times though.
We're a proud bunch of nerds!
A week later and Trish and I made the journey to Midland Ontario for the last Spring O-Cup. I love the course in Midland. It's on a ski hill so it has a lot of steep climbing on technical singletrack, some tricky descents and good flow. I think it's the best of the series now that Elliot Lake is off the calendar. As well, Midland is a nice area to visit. In addition to racing Trish and I shopped at the local Giant Tiger, visited a marsh where we manhandled some turtles and also found an all-you-can-eat beef deal at a local diner. Nice.
This year the course was very greasy from overnight rains. Everything was rideable. But barely. The conditions rewarded those who could clear all the tech bits without resorting to cyclocross techniques. I hate cyclocross so I did everything I could to keep the big wheels rolling. Once our group was clear of traffic from other categories this was not a problem. Again, Barnes and Eric rode away and I battled for 3rd. Despite crashing and smashing my knee up I held onto the last podium spot. Eric finished about 30 seconds ahead in second and Barnes won a minute earlier. They're within reach - but not that day. I had a lousy 2nd lap pushing my bike around lapped traffic that really set me back physically and mentally. And that was that.
People are so used to seeing Jon Barnes up there that nobody even noticed when they replaced him with this floor pump.
See that shirt? It allows me to boast that I am: The Fastest Guy Between the Ages of 30 and 39 Who Does Not Race Elite and Showed Up and Did Well in the Most Ontario Cup XC Races So Far This Year.
The ride of the day belonged to Trish anyway -- 3rd place in the Elite Women's race! She was beaten only by superstars Emily Batty and Amanda Sin fresh off their Spring European campaigns. Trish is fit and can ride difficult singletrack better than most. She worked her way through the field all day and landed right on the podium. Awesome.
And that was a great way to end Season One. Three O-Cups, two Canada Cups, one Sunset Series race, Battenkill, a couple of road time trials, Ride of the Damned, Mufferaw Joe... I'm tired and need to recover and train. Season Two starts in July.
Despite seeming to have a melon for a head, Derek Zandstra, one of the fastest dudes in Canada, crushed the men's Elite field at Midland.